The Art of The Pep Talk

Hi, this is Mike Lipkin and I’m a professional pep-talker. I am paid to inspire people to do things they otherwise would not have done. I pump people up so they take powerful action to achieve remarkable results. That’s my job and that’s your job too. Whatever your role, the pep talk is a vital tool of your trade. The right words in the right way at the right time decide the difference between winning and losing – especially in the clutch moments. People are like taps – they are opened up or screwed shut by your message and how its delivered.

We can all remember the pep talk that ignited our winning spirit. We never forget how we pulled off a victory from the jaws of defeat. Years later, we can still feel the joy of vanquishing the opponent, beating a competitor or achieving a dream. Great pep talks are the stuff of legends, myths and movies.  Here are the ten steps to creating your own.

  1. Get into a motivated mindset– you cannot give what you do not have. Before I give a pep talk like this one, I get excited. I watch and listen to people that delight me. I breathe deeply. I assume my Superman pose. And I visualize the session going spectacularly well. I get into winning lag time – success has already happened, I just need to catch up to it.
  2. Be clear on your goal– have a specific end-in-mind and keep referencing it. Repetition is the mother of learning. My goal in this message is to enable you to be a highly effective pep talker so you can enable your team-members to achieve remarkable results.
  3. Understand the mood of the audience– how big is the mental-shift you are seeking to effect? The greater the shift, the more intense your message needs to be. Before you can motivate people into action, you have to break down the barriers blocking their progress. Coming from behind is a different challenge from celebrating a win. Tense moments need to be diffused and transformed. Happy moments need to be magnified and imprinted on people’s minds.
  4. Keep your message simple– the main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing. There are so many distractions swirling around in people’s minds. You need to cut through them by declaring the priorities that need to drive people’s thoughts and actions.
  5. Tell people why it’s important– connect your ask to the bigger mission. In the stress of the journey, it’s easy for people to lose sight of the destination. On the other hand, being able to see the finish line helps people get over it. Over and over again.
  6. Demonstrate your empathy– share your grasp of others’ realities and feelings. Show your depth of understanding. Walk in their shoes. Align your hearts and their minds will follow. But be authentic. Don’t claim what you haven’t earned or learned.
  7. Call people into action– define the specific next steps that need to be taken. Lay out the roadmap for people to follow or improvise on. Strip away uncertainty and doubt. Do the hard work so your colleagues find it easy. Just like I’m doing now. The great ones always make it seem easy. That’s why others follow them.
  8. Give people reasons to believe– remind them of how far they’ve come. Reaffirm their faith in themselves. Elevate their swagger. Bolster their egos by providing evidence of victory. Help people see the dots, connect the dots and project the dots.
  9. Express your confidence in their success– achieve the dream in advance. Pull the future towards them. Make the end zone so clear and compelling, they’re magnetized towards it. I can see you delivering the best pep talk of your life so you transform your colleagues into champions. Can you?
  10. Make it personal– get people to own the outcome. Make them co-authors of the next chapter. Invest them with the authority to make an impact. Invite each person to influence the way the game is played. And reward them accordingly.

This is Mike Lipkin and those are the ten steps to mastering the art of the pep talk:

  1. Get into a motivated
  2. Be clear on your
  3. Understand the mood of the audience
  4. Keep your message simple
  5. Tell people why it’s important
  6. Demonstrate your empathy
  7. Call people into action
  8. Give people reasons to believe
  9. Express your confidence in their success
  10. Make it personal

Practice the steps and pay them forward so you help everyone around you win.

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4 thoughts on “The Art of The Pep Talk

  1. Clifford D Fraser

    Your taking ownership inspirations are infectious.
    Your straight to the point messages build foundations to reach new places.
    Thank you Mike.

  2. Steve

    Mike, amazing what you communicated in just six minutes. I enjoyed meeting you years ago. Look forward to seeing you again.


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